Friday, December 30, 2005

Best Milbloggers of 2005

36 hours to vote for your favorite milblog over at Currently I'm sitting fat and happy at number 3 for Navy blogs which suits me just fine, fairly mundane and happy year. When the corpsman in bored, everyone is happy. All you need to do is sign up for an account and click on your favorites. Easy as that.

Who's on my favorite's list? Lt Smash, Michael Yon, Blackfive, Some Soldiers Mom, Lex, Greyhawk, Rusten Currie, Dude, Where's the Beach?, ArmyWifeToddlerMom and Major K to name some. If you vote or not, JP has a great collection in interesting milbloggers.

I didn't get squished!

After days of worrying about how I was going to get that 630 pound tool box out of the back of the truck, I rolled it off smooth as silk. I did spend an hour building a strong ramp before though. Now I just have to finish filling it up and cleaning the house before I cook the prime rib I got for Christmas from my mom and the turkey I got for 1.50 using the 15 dollar coupon I got from my partner in crime at work, Chris. Hope everybody shows up or we’re going to be eating leftovers for the next month!

Tragic, Dodger and I wish everyone a wonderful and happy new year, may the next one be better then the last or at least not suck too much!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A long weekend and what to do?

We’ve made it back to San Diego safe and sound and I have a four day weekend coming up and not too many plans other then a get together to with some friends to consume a prime rib I got for Christmas and a turkey left over from a gift certificate.

So I’m looking about the internet for cheap things to do in the area. We’ve spent our wad and other then cleaning, San Diego is too nice of a place to waste days off doing nothing.

Hmm, San Diego blog pointed me out to this excellent review. Heh, it’s too cold out to do that! Why did he put that out in December? That’s definitely a springtime story not that I would ever be caught doing that kind of stuff.

I’ve been known for my surf photography and the waves are going to be huge the next few days.

Wally tells of eight San Diego places to avoid, hmm, I've been to all but one of them. He does have a good list of Extreme Activites that include such cool things as Kayaking the La Jolla Caves, riding those Balloons I see over Del Mar every time I drive home from work or hang gliding over the naked folk by Blacks Beach. Some nice stuff over at Local Wally's.

I'm sure we'll figure out something, of course we could just vegg, it has been pretty busy around here and we do need to get ready for the honeymoon next months. Honeymoon you say? Where am I going? Alas, I can not speak of it at this time, but I will try to keep posting when we get there. Operational security and all of that jazz.

Happy New Years everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tool Box Odyssey

After spending a week with my son in Arizona it was time for the homeward journey.

This is where the odyssey of the the tool box started. From 1999 till 2001 I was out of the military and working as a Mechanic. The biggest goal of a starting out Mechanic is not fixing cars, it’s gathering tools. I started with a couple of small tool boxes on a rolling stand, one day our local Snap-On sales devil came by with a 20 year old Snap-On tool box which he was willing to take payments for (on hindsight I should have just bought the 700 dollar Costco one). When I got it, my tools filled it up about half way, each payday being the pack rat that I am, I added a tool here, another there and in seeming no time. I had filled it to the brim.

For a time I was a happy camper but unknowingly to me, I was an unhappy camper and needed more. After a year of funneling my money towards the Snap-On guy, he was starting to figure me as an easy mark. He pulled in one day with a brand new tool box, cherry colored, unlike any other Snap-On tool box ever made, it had a wireless remote and alarm system! This box had been damaged in shipping and a corner was buckled up but Clayton said he would take 2000 dollars off the asking price and throw in a stainless steel top. I was sold…

That tool box was my bride, I loved the damn thing. For 6 months I was an extremely happy mechanic then September 11 happened and caused me to question my life. I had a way cool tool box, a nice job with people I liked but it felt like I wasn’t making a difference in the world so I came back in.

This left my tool box in limbo, as much as I love my mom, she doesn’t show the same values as I do and would have sold it for 500 bucks (or given it away like my first edition comic books to the next door neighbor kid). My suburban is big but even with the wheels off of the tool box, it wouldn’t fit in the back. I thought of my dad but he didn’t have the room, then I thought of old coworker/uncle’s brother in law Jimmy. When I was going to school in Phoenix, I worked at a place called The Thing Shop for my uncle. I made convertible tops and seats for VW Things, Jimmy worked across this table from me and had the most immaculate tool box (he secretly waxed his tool box when people weren’t looking). Jimmy had a high respect for tools and a 3 car garage and most importantly, I trusted him. So I called him up and asked if he wanted a couple year loan of my baby.

4 years pass (3 of those paying off the tool box), the first place I lived were the barracks, then to a couple of apartments, no place I would trust to keep my tool box. Finally I’m married and living in a nice place with a two car garage down in San Diego and it's time to reunite with the Box. Jimmy deliveres the tool box to my uncles and we loaded it up in the back of my pickup with a forklift.

Collin and I drove back trying to get an early start because I wasn’t sure if the truck would fit in the garage with the tool box in back of it. The plan was to go to Home Depot and buy the wood to make a ramp to off load it (with the stainless steel top it weights 630 pounds). Got home 15 minutes after they closed and found out that yes, it does fit in the garage (whew!) Will post pictures of the offloading (if I don’t get squished) but first have to give the son a ride up to Sacramento then have Christmas dinner with Heathers family.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Holidays around Prescott

My son and I are road tripping around northern Arizona (lovely wife has to work, sigh) Visiting the family and staying at my moms house. Our mornings have been taken up with different construction jobs and nights with visiting friends, relatives or shopping. Yesterday I put a roof on a garage and my son dug holes for my mom.
Last night we went out Christmas shopping. Thursday we’re heading down to Phoenix to see my dad and uncle Larry and pick up my tool box (if it fits in the truck).

Today I went out to lunch with fellow blogger Some Soldiers Mom

and her husband at the Iron Springs Café and they showed me their house afterwards. I’ve lived in Prescott most of my adult life and the view from their balcony is the best one I’ve see of Thumb Butte anywhere (big mountain that sticks up like a thumb, here's the picture).

Fellow milbloggers, if you haven’t met these two, you’re missing out. Good people, some of the nicest folk I’ve met in a while. Another plus to being a milblogger, you get to meet a lot of great people. Now when's our next West Coast milblog meet up?

Well I’m at my sister’s house and she just got done feeding my new nephew so it’s time to hang out with them. Merry Christmas all!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Night of Stories

My wife’s grandfather is down visiting for the weekend, he’s a retired Marine with 30 years worth of stories. A Veteran from WW2 at Midway, the Korean War, he was at the Chosin Reservoir and Vietnam till 1968, he’s been in the shit. Last night we went out to dinner with him, her uncle and aunt, pretty good time. Grandpa Ken is staying at our house for the weekend and the others are staying at a hotel. We got home from dinner last night and had 3 hours of story time where my wife and I were entranced. I’ll have to get some of these together and put them on my blog (and take more notes next time he talks). He’s a bottomless source of information and I wish he lived closer, it’s amazing listening to his stories. Needless to say, I think I’m very blessed with the new family.

My son is flying in tomorrow and I’ll be making a trip out to Arizona with him on Sunday, lovely wife is stuck here next week doing slave labor, so it will just be the boys. The holidays are here and it’s time to make the best of them!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2005

My confession

Confessions of a Military Recruiter did a post where he's talking about enlisting recruits with law violations, on this note, I have my own confession to make.

When I originally enlisted in '91, I had one of those law violations, namely, Trespass on Town Property, my best buddy and I and his 11 year old little brother snuck into the community pool in the middle of the night. His little brother didn’t even want to go but we dragged him along anyway. Next thing we knew we were in the town slammer with my irate mom taking charge of us and a court date in a couple of months. When the date arrived, the judge said to my buddy “do you have anything to say?” And he said “no Sir”, I came up and he asked me the same thing and I replied, “Sir, we’re both going into the Navy in a few weeks and if we get charged with this, it will affect our entire life for basically pool hopping. In a couple of weeks we could both be gone and you will never have to see us again.” So he dropped all charges and said if he ever saw us again, he was going to throw the book at us. Meanwhile the little brother went to Juvenile court and was found guilty of trespass and had to do a hundred hours of community service. Poor kid, I still feel a bit of guilt about that but it is ironic.

Don't forget, fast feet and a quick tongue can get you out of most things. Keep your head on your shoulders.

Oh yeah, I think that was my idea.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Tagged... Five Weird Habits

Some Soldier’s Mom has tagged me... and I'm supposed to describe Five Weird habits I have... I have many more then five of them but these are the ones that are popping up right now.

1. I’m like a boy scout when it comes to my suburban, it’s always prepared for anything, if the end of the world is about to happen, I’m the person to be with (in my big old suburban). I’m usually carrying around enough tools to make a small car from scratch, rebuild a computer or set up my own battlefield hospital.

2. I curl up into a ball when I sleep, my wife says I also hum songs and talk, I don’t know about that but have been known to snore.

3. I read way too much, I’ve sat in one spot reading for 24 hours before, I’ve got a life recently and have been hanging out with my wife so my reading has gone to hell. I feel like Thurgood on the last line of Half Baked.

4. Multitasking when I drive, I get bored driving, I like using those glass wipes to clean while I‘m in motion, I want to talk to people on the phone, I like NPR and Audio books to keep my mind occupied, I wish I could read and drive at the same time but would probably cause me to die in a fiery crash, I used to be a fast driver but driving a really slow suburban has cured that from me.

5. I get compulsively addicted to things, the real reason I stayed away from TV for so many years is I don’t want to get attached to shows, stick with reading I say, it's easy to keep a book in your pocket. I’ve had the problem lately of my wife introducing me to these awesome shows in sly ways (you know? Slipping them underneath my defenses.) Hooking my like a fat fish, this week it’s the Showtime’s Dead Like Me. Sigh! Enjoying the show though:)

I’m not going to press this forward but it is a good tag.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Bloody Mary’s

I’m reading the late Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt and I’m surprised how alike we look at the world. We’re both slackers about deadlines and make fun of everything. I was particularly struck by one chapter that he talks about only ordering Bloody Mary’s in Airports, which happens to be my flying drink of choice along with my old flight surgeon, Bruce and a number of other medical people I work with. But yet we never drink them anywhere else. Why is that?

This book is a compilation of notes taken off of the numerous Mac’s Douglas owned over the years and put together by the who’s who of his life. Salmon dives deep into the strange psyche of this master storyteller and gives us the reader a brief glimpse at what makes him tick. This book is about Douglas the man, not the author of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and as much as I love the Hitchhikers series, I’m more impressed with him now. If you’re a fan or not, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christmas fun anyone?

This Santa game is just wrong, don't play it, really I mean don't play it! (now why can't I stop playing it?)

When I grow up, I want lights like this on my house for Christmas.

Thanks for sharing these with me B

If you don’t agree with us we’re going to beat you

Paul Mirecki, University of Kansas religious studies professor, had a course scheduled to start this spring called “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies”. Instead on Monday he got ran off the road and beat by two men in a large pickup truck. Guess these thugs were supporters of “Intelligent Design”.

Professor Mirecki has given in to these thugs and has since resigned as the Chairman of the department of Religious Studies (my wife minored in that subject at San Jose State) and asked the university to cancel the spring class. Is this any different from the folks that scare people away from polling booths because they don’t agree with them? Fundamentalists of any sort that act this way are repugnant, how many steps are they away from bombing abortion clinics or the terrorists that lay road side bombs? The same thought process is there. What ever happened to turn the other cheek?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Congrats Sis

This morning I was working at a cell phone dead spot and my sister left me this message....

“Hi Sean, it’s your sister Sarah, you’re an uncle again, little Mason Drake was born at 12:25 this morning and he’s 9 pounds 6 ounces and 21 inches long and he absolutely beautiful so I’m calling to let you know that the baby’s here. Hope things are going well talk to you soon, goodbye!”

Look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks, good job!

Monday, December 05, 2005

So what's up with blogger tonight?

My blog has been my main launch page for a while but something seems to be wrong with blogger this evening. So I'm just chilling here with the beautiful lady and putting up the Christmas tree and lights to outside of the house and chilling I am, it's 41 degees out! What's up with that? I thought I was in San Diego, not the arctic. It's not my fault that some of you guys live in places where it Snows! I've been spending so much time over the last few years in hot desert temperatures, I'm used to the heat. I feel for the guys that come back from Iraq into the snow and ice of the north.

Hey blogger is up again but my love has just turned on The Triangle, yes Michael I am now rotting my brain out but it's looking pretty good so far:) For a non TV watcher I seem to be watching a lot of TV lately. It must be that TV drought I've forced on myself for the last half decade, making up for a little bit of lost time.

Back to the show...

Oh if you need to repent online, there is now igod, check him out.

5 things

AFSister has tagged me with answering 5 things you probably don't know about me

I’ll go for the easiest one first, my first car was a 1978 Chevette, primer gray, bought it when I was 15 for 500 bucks doing lawns one summer, had it for 3 years and it was one of my favorite cars.

I was married for 5 years to a girl named Lisa. Sort of a shotgun wedding, we have an 11 year old son named Collin. She’s remarried with another child and we’re getting along good these days.

I have a associates degree in Autotronics from Arizona Automotive Initute which I don’t use very much anymore but do have a really cool (but expensive) Snap On tool box.

I used to be one of those crazy rock climbers, have got slow, fat and weak in my old age.

My wife found me through Webcrawler looking for Penpals in Iraq and her first comment on my blog was “I can’t believe you can read in the back of a helicopter, I get sick trying to read in a car”. If you're looking for military penpals check out Soldier's Angels, Books for Soldiers or Adopt a Platoon.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Source of Ebola Virus Found

Researchers in the Congo have identified three species of fruit bats that are acting as the reservoir for the Ebola virus. Twenty-two percent of the bats tested were found positive for genetic traces of virus. Even more interesting is that this produced no symptoms in the infected bats. This has been driving scientists nuts for a while and for good reason, in 1976 it appeared in 55 villages near the head waters of the Ebola river killing 9 out of every 10 people infected.

When people catch Ebola, it's like wildfire, killing a lot of people really quick but burning itself out before it is able to spread very far. AIDS on the other hand, stays in your system without disabling you allowing you to go about you life infecting people for years and years before it kills you off, that is if it kills you off. People are surving longer new medical treatments.

Back to Ebola, the identification of bats as the natural reservoir offers an excellent explanation of how the virus appeared simultaneously in those 55 villages in 1976 and puts part of that mystery to rest. What does this mean? Just interesting I guess, I've watched too many Discover Channel and National Geographic specials about Ebola growing up.